The Tontons Concert Review
By DL Haydon
When I asked the Houston Chronicle’s music critic if he planned to review The Tontons at Warehouse Live Saturday, he said “Might be yes. There are a few big shows that night.”
I disagree. There was one big show in Houston Saturday. Whatever else, whoever else was in town, it was nothing compared to The Tontons. Let’s not delve into the shows in Montrose or deeper downtown. Those sets didn’t have three opening acts that could have been stand alone. The shows didn’t have an ocean of friends, family and dedicated fans. The others didn’t play tracks from a new album called “Make Out King and Other Stories of Love.” Whatever other venues opened that night, they sure as hell didn’t have the silky smooth voice of Asli Omar.
Freddy Beach and BUXTON warmed things up. The former brought their New Orleans influence. The latter played rock and folk that sounded the way good whiskey tastes. A little after 10 p.m. The Octopus Project came on. They hypnotized the hell out of the crowd, despite mike troubles. You had to watch as much as listen. It was like a culture campaign to distribute Austin’s particular flavor of weird.
But the crowd, hyped as they were by the warm up, wanted The Tontons. You could tell by the conversations yelled into ears. The pantomime sign language people used when pointing posters and album copies.
Omar took a moment after the first song to relay that Justin Martinez, the drummer, was still recovering from a burst appendix. This occurred during a set in Dallas weeks prior. Sean Hart from Caddywhompus filled in for Martinez, and everything synched up fine.
A live show means feedback from a mike, a swarming crowd and pricey drinks. But you can’t equate the treats a live performance gives. You’ll never enjoy The Tontons in your earphones as much as you’ll enjoy watching them move on stage. Unlike a lot of bands, they know how to turn their chords, vocals and percussion into body language. Not to mention they did a flawless cover of The Cardigans’ “Love Fool.” That alone made the night.
The Tontons wrapped up a little after midnight with a green tint of light and a lot of positive noise from the crowd. The night was a testament to what Houston can produce. The only downside? There are still thirty days of March that won’t fulfill your musical tastes anywhere near as well.
by DL Haydon